Over the years movie reviews never affected the fortunes of any film, says Bollywood filmmaker Anand Pandit. In an exclusive interview with Sakshi Post, Anand Pandit tells Reshmi AR that it is futile to compare any creative field and refuses to encourage a debate on North Vs South movies.
1. First things first, are you really producing the Hera Pheri franchise?
Well, many ideas have been on the anvil recently and till they fructify, I am not at liberty to discuss them. All I can say is, "Watch this space for more updates!"
2. People have also been waiting for a sequel to Andaz Apna Apna, any thoughts on that?
I too have been waiting for it but again, I cannot really say anything concrete till I know what is happening on this front for sure.
3. Movies made in South Indian languages are dominating the box office, in your opinion?
It is great that South-Indian films are doing spectacularly well across India because they deserve to. I also believe it is not right to divide a creative industry into various regions because in collaboration and synergy, lies our strength. Why find polarities where there can be unity? A lot of South-Indian and Hindi films are now collaborating and exchanging talent and it is a wonderful trend. KGF-Chapter-1's Hindi version, as well as that of Baahubali for instance, was distributed by Mumbai-based producers and recently Brahmastra was also released in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada and has done well. So what we are seeing is the emergence of a resurgent Indian film industry where different creative energies can blend seamlessly and beautifully.
4. Why do you think movies like KGF and Pushpa clicked?
Why does any film click? Because it engages the audience with its story, its characters, its music, its visuals, or something that can only be described as a magical ingredient called the X factor. I hear, Brahmastra is working because of its VFX and big screen appeal, and tomorrow there will be another film with an unexpected story or something that the audiences have never seen before and it will click. But it is always easy to say retrospectively why something worked or failed because till the audience gives a verdict, filmmakers are only going by their gut and hoping that their vision will be loved and accepted.
5. Why do you think Hindi movies are being rejected at the Box Office?
I have always refrained from making sweeping generalisations about any issue and especially in the film business, one Friday can change an entire narrative and from what I hear, audiences are back in the theatres and we have a blockbuster on our hands. But yes, it is more challenging than ever to make films that will please the audience. Personally, I feel films must be made with conviction and whether you are making an unabashed, big screen entertainer, a social comedy, a thriller or a riveting human story, you must believe in it completely. My own film, 'Fakt Mahilao Maate', despite being in Gujarati did very well in other sectors because it was made with a certain clarity. It was meant for family audiences and they came in droves. As far as Hindi films go, they have always evolved with time and they will continue to do so.
6. If you compare a Hindi movie to a Malayalam movie, the former fails despite massive budgets while the latter do well with the content. Do you think the audience now wants just good content?
Comparisons in any creative field are futile. I am a huge fan of Malayalam cinema but I can never say that Hindi cinema does not have a grip on good content. If you look at the history of Hindi films, we had masters of meaningful commercial cinema like Raj Kapoor and V Shantaram, refined entertainers like Yash Chopra, and makers like Manmohan Desai who made you suspend your disbelief and made you believe in the magic of cinema. We had directors like Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and so many more whose cinema combined solid substance with entertainment. The new wave cinema in the 70s gave us realism and won us critical acclaim and we still have a mixed bag of makers. If you look at the leading makers today, they all work in different genres and have an enviable success streak. As in any other profession, it is important to keep learning from your mistakes and go beyond your comfort zones and I am sure, we will continue to grow and never make the mistake of taking our audience for granted.
7. Why do you think the most hyped movies fail?
Films fail for many reasons. Sometimes they fail also because they are not well publicized even though they are well-made. A film's release ultimately has to be timed well, it has to be distributed well, get enough screens, have a good outreach campaign to stir the audience's audience and finally it must have content that satisfies the audience who are spending their hard-earned money to buy a ticket.
8. Do you think social media reviews are killing a movie's prospects at the box office?
I don't think that any generalizations can ever be made about why films fail or succeed at the box office. Those who want to watch a film will go to watch it regardless of what social media is saying and those who don't, won't even if everyone is praising a new release to the skies. Even before the advent of social media, reviews were enjoyed for how well they were written but I doubt if they affected the fortunes of any film. Even Sholay was reviewed badly in its first week! Many badly reviewed films have gone on to be blockbusters and many well-reviewed films have failed at the box office.
9. Which genre of movies do you enjoy the most?
I love comedies but as a cinema aficionado, I love any film that is well-made.
10. What's your take on Pan India movies?
As I mentioned before, when we mention pan-Indian films, we need not just refer to the hits that are winning over the entire country but also the synergies that are connecting various industries to create a truly powerful entity called Indian cinema. We are now beginning to see Hindi films being released in regional markets and vice versa. We are beginning to appreciate stars, makers and stories from diverse industries and it is a very healthy trend. We cannot remain in a bubble and it is more important than ever to collaborate and co-create cinema we can all be proud of.
11. Do you think OTT platforms have opened up avenues for filmmakers?
Of course because now makers have the space to tell long format stories, make anthologies, and explore themes that don't get play time on the big screen. Not just makers but a new crop of writers and actors has also emerged from the OTT boom and our industry is richer and more diverse thanks to them.
12. You have worked on movies in Marathi, Gujarathi besides Hindi. Any plans of producing a South Indian movie?
For sure, at some point, I do believe that will happen.
13. Do you watch South Indian movies? Name a recent movie you enjoyed and why?
I loved 'Soorarai Pottru' for its aspirational theme, the star power of Suriya, the direction of
Sudha Kongara and the transparent honesty with which this story was told.
14. What would be your dream cast if you were to produce a movie in a South Indian language?
Why not have a pan-Indian blockbuster starring Mammootty, Mohanlal, Kamal Haasan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Yash, Suriya, and Allu Arjun? Wouldn't that be phenomenal?